University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Edward Scribner Ames Papers 1893-1958

© 2007 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Ames, Edward Scribner. Papers




6.5 linear ft. (12 boxes)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Edward Scribner Ames (1870-1958) Professor of Philosophy. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Includes correspondence with Vachel Lindsay (1904-1927).

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Ames, Edward Scribner. Papers and Addenda, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Historical Note

Edward Scribner Ames was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on April 21, 1870. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and then attended Yale University Divinity School. He received the Yale B.D. in 1892 and continued to study philosophy there for two more years. Transferring to the University of Chicago for a fellowship during 1894-1895, he earned a Ph.D. in philosophy in 1895, awarded by professors John Dewey and James Tufts. Ames first taught at Butler College, Indianapolis, for three years but soon returned to accept a philosophy position at Chicago in 1900, which he held until his retirement in 1936.

Ames’s focus was in psychology and sociology of religion. His father had been a Disciples of Christ minister in a series of Midwestern towns. Ames went on to publish several influential studies of religious experience and values, along with doctrinal studies relating to the Disciples of Christ. Influenced by his colleagues, he joined their Chicago School of Pragmatism and advanced a pragmatic understanding of God and doctrine, similar in many respects to Dewey’s religious humanism.

Ames was active in the life of Chicago; he joined the City Club and served on reform committees. Ames maintained his devotion to the Disciples of Christ and was in close association with other leading figures of the movement. He was one of the founding members, with other graduates of Yale and Chicago, of the Campbell Institute in Chicago in 1896. Ames edited The Scroll, the quarterly journal of the Campbell Institute, from 1925 to 1951. He was the minister of the Hyde Park Christian Church (renamed the University Church of Disciples of Christ) in Chicago from 1900 to 1940. He also served as the Dean of the Disciples Divinity House in Chicago from 1927 to 1945. Ames’s distinctively liberal and humanistic approach to both theology and ministerial leadership brought him into repeated conflicts with more conservative elements of the denomination. Among the specific doctrinal questions for which Ames is remembered is the humanity of Jesus, the denial of an afterlife, the diminished role of baptism, and open membership.

Ames died in Chicago on 29 June 1958 and his ashes were spread behind the family cottage on Lake Michigan in Pentwater, Michigan.

Scope Note

The collection contains family and professional correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. Includes correspondence with Vachel Lindsay (1904-1927).

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

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Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1904-1906

Box 1   Folder 2

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1909

Box 1   Folder 3

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1910-1911

Box 1   Folder 4

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1914-1915

Box 1   Folder 5

Vachel Lindsey

  • "The Proclamation of the Gospel of Beauty''
  • Correspondence, 1916
Box 1   Folder 6

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1917-1918

Box 1   Folder 7

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, June 20, 1921

Box 1   Folder 8

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1922

Box 1   Folder 9

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence, 1924-1927

Box 1   Folder 10

Vachel Lindsey, "The Ezekiel Chant,'' Vachel Lindsay

Box 1   Folder 11

Grade Books, 1896-1900, 1920

Box 1   Folder 12

Grade Books, Vol. 1-25

Box 1   Folder 13

Grade Books, Vol. 26-46

Box 1   Folder 14

Correspondence, Alphabetical, chronological, 1910-1950

Box 1   Folder 15

Correspondence, University of Chicago, 1894-1931

Box 2   Folder 1

Sermons, 1925-1948

Box 2   Folder 2

Atomic bomb, papers and clippings, 1945

Box 2   Folder 3

John Dewey, 1931-1950

Box 2   Folder 4

Reprints, 1902-1944

Box 2   Folder 5

Letter from Lorado Taft, 1923

Box 2   Folder 6


Box 2   Folder 7


Box 2   Folder 8

Yale Divinity School Portraits, Class of 1892

Box 2   Folder 9


Box 3   Folder 1

C.F. Ames, Correspondence

Box 3   Folder 2

C.F. Ames, Correspondence

Box 3   Folder 3

Letters of congratulations, 80th birthday, 1950

Box 3   Folder 4

Letters of congratulations, 80th birthday, 1950

Box 3   Folder 5

Letters of congratulations, 80th birthday, 1950

Box 3   Folder 6

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, misc

Box 3   Folder 7

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, misc

Box 3   Folder 8

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, A

Box 4   Folder 1

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, C

Box 4   Folder 2

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, D-F

Box 4   Folder 3

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, G

Box 4   Folder 4

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, H-J

Box 4   Folder 5

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, K

Box 4   Folder 6

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, M

Box 4   Folder 7

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, N-R

Box 4   Folder 8

Departmental Correspondence, 1900-1932, S-Z

Box 4   Folder 9

Correspondence, 1950's

Box 4   Folder 10

Correspondence, 1950's

Box 4   Folder 11

Correspondence, 1950's

Box 4   Folder 12

Correspondence, 1950's

Box 4   Folder 13

Correspondence, 1950's

Box 4   Folder 14

Correspondence, 1950's

Box 4   Folder 15

Correspondence, Edward S. Ames and Mabel Van Meter Ames, with their children Adelaide, Polly, Van Meter and Damaris

Box 4   Folder 16

Correspondence, brother Charles Ames

Box 4   Folder 17

Family correspondence

Box 5   Folder 1

Family correspondence

Box 5   Folder 2

Family correspondence

Box 5   Folder 3

Family correspondence

Box 5   Folder 4

Guest Book

Box 5   Folder 5

Memorial Service for Edward Scribner Ames, program and guest list, July 3, 1958

Box 5   Folder 6

Mrs. Ames' Autograph Book, Mrs. Ames'

Box 6   Folder 1

"Our Wedding Anniversary," guest book, fiftieth wedding anniversary, July 6, 1943

Box 6   Folder 2

Scrapbook of handwritten letters from the women of the University Church of the Disciples of Christ, celebrating the birthday of Mrs. Edward S. Ames, April 20, 1940

Box 6   Folder 3

Will and testament

Box 6   Folder 4


Box 6   Folder 5

Pentwater Heights Assoc.

Box 6   Folder 6

Pentwater, 1941-1942

Box 6   Folder 7

Pentwater, 1946

Box 6   Folder 8

Arthur W. Neilson, M.D.

Box 7   Folder 1

Golden Wedding Anniversary greeting cards, July 6, 1943

Box 7   Folder 2

Golden Wedding Anniversary greeting cards, July 6, 1943

Box 7   Folder 3

Adelaide Ames

Box 7   Folder 4

Van Meter family genealogy

Box 7   Folder 5

Van Meter family genealogy, family tree

Box 7   Folder 6

Poetry, etc.

Box 7   Folder 7

Personal, Reviews, etc.

Box 8   Folder 1

Reviews, press clippings

Box 8   Folder 2


Box 8   Folder 3


Box 8   Folder 4

Correspondence, Charles Ames

Box 8   Folder 5

Correspondence, birthday letters

Box 8   Folder 6

Correspondence, birthday letters

Box 8   Folder 7

Correspondence, birthday letters

Box 8   Folder 8

Correspondence, Church

Box 8   Folder 9

Correspondence, Disciples Divinity House and Campbell Institute

Box 8   Folder 10

Correspondence, Rayna and Rebecca

Box 8   Folder 11

Correspondence, retirement, 1940

Box 9   Folder 1

Correspondence, Harold Swift

Box 9   Folder 2

Correspondence, Henry C. Taylor

Box 9   Folder 3

Church Finances

Box 9   Folder 4

Funeral services and letters

Box 9   Folder 5

Meland pamphlets, "God," misc.

Box 9   Folder 6


Box 9   Folder 7

Lerch Elevator Co.

Box 9   Folder 8

Star Map

Box 9   Folder 9

Wedding invitations

Box 9   Folder 10

"One Day in Athens,'' manuscript of travel memoir by Edward Scribner Ames Services and Christmas Programs

Box 9   Folder 11

Anniversary, Christmas materials

  • Anniversary Dinner, 3 Oct 1947
  • Service for Mr. Nolan
  • Christmas Program for Women's Club
  • Other Christmas Programs
  • Calendars 1934-1937
Box 10   Folder 1

Scrapbook of letters celebrating Ames's thirtieth anniversary as pastor of University Church

Box 10   Folder 2


Box 10   Folder 3


Box 10   Folder 4

Portrait cards

Box 10   Folder 5

Edward Scribner Ames, memorial service bulletins

Box 10   Folder 6

Mabel Van Meter Ames, memorial materials

Box 10   Folder 7

1958 "The Scroll: In Memorandum of Edward Scribner Ames"

Box 10   Folder 8

Ames notes for sermons

  • Manuscript notebook for funeral services
  • Manuscript notebook for dedication of infants
Box 11   Folder 1


Box 11   Folder 2

Miscellaneous service bulletins and publications

Box 11   Folder 3


Box 11   Folder 4


  • The Disciples of Christ, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • The Disciples of Christ: Their Growth, Their Heritage. Their Timeliness, 1943, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • Liberalism in Religion, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • A Vital Church, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • Three Great Words of Religion: Faith, Hope, Love, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • Religion as Enrichment of Life, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • Invisible Companions, prayer and sermon by E. S. Ames
  • Ideals of Our Church, pamphlet by E. S. Ames
  • Orders for the Communion Service, arranged by E. S. Ames
  • Directory of Officers and Members of the University Church of Disciples of Christ, 1952-1953
  • My Religion, pamphlet by Herbert L. Willett
  • The Scroll, May 1944, includes address given by E. S. Ames Silver Anniversary of the Hyde Park Church of Christ, Disciples, Chicago, Illinois, 1919
Box 11   Folder 5

New Testament

Box 11   Folder 6

Misc. Clippings and Correspondence

Box 12   Folder 1

Vachel Lindsey, correspondence

Box 12   Folder 2

  • Certificate, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, issued to Damaris D. Van Meter, undated
  • Mortarboard and academic hood